Corn: Corn futures closed up 2 to 2 1/2 cents and high-range in the nearby contracts, on short covering after hitting contract lows on Tuesday. Price gains today were constrained by the upcoming harvest of a bountiful U.S. corn crop, although some recent rainfall in the Corn Belt and more in the forecast could slow early-harvest progress. Rains are also developing across parts Argentina and the seasonal increase in Brazilian rain is starting about three weeks early in the central and northern areas. That will work to recharge soil moisture heading into planting season. Demand for U.S. corn remains strong, with exports for the marketing year already 44% ahead of a year ago.
Soybeans: Soybean futures contracts rebounded double-digits and closed near late-session highs after posting contract lows on Tuesday. November soybeans gained 16 cents to close at $8.30 with March up 15 3/4 cents to $8.47 1/4. Soybean meal futures also rose from contract lows set Tuesday, climbing about $6 today, with soybean oil gaining 13 points. Prices rebounded from oversold conditions as funds collected profits on short positions. The market uncovered some buying interest on news that China does not plan to weaken its currency to boost exports. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said the nation would not devalue its currency as part of its response to the latest round of U.S. duties. But until both sides are back at the negotiating table, rallies are likely to remain capped by limited new China buying interest.
Wheat: Winter wheat futures finished up 10 1/4 to 12 cents and high-range. Spring wheat gained 6 1/2 to 7 3/4. The wheat futures markets were up for a third time in four sessions, on short covering after prices dropped to eight-week lows last week. The U.S. market is following Black Sea wheat futures, which rose to a one-month high today. European wheat futures rose to a one-week high and Australia futures are near four-week highs.
Cotton: Cotton futures posted slight gains of 2 to 48 points through the March contract. Most cotton contracts posted mild corrective gains today after Tuesday’s technical washout. But buyer interest was limited, as concerns about heightened trade tensions between the U.S. and China continue to hang over the market. Traders will look to Thursday’s weekly export sales data for price direction. To spark a sizable price recovery, export demand needs to signal prices have dropped low enough. But tomorrow’s data will be as of Sept. 13 – before the sharp price break and when prices were still in the sideways trading range, so we don’t anticipate anything special compared to recent weeks.
Hogs: October lean hog futures continue to lead the rally in cash prices and futures. October settled up 82.5 cents at $60, the highest close since June 28. The December contract finished 7.5 cents lower and February rose 15 cents. October futures started higher and finished making new session highs for a second straight session. The market was supported by further strength in fresh pork prices, which is keeping packer margins profitable and demand for live animals strong. Iowa/Minnesota hogs advanced $2.24 on Wednesday.
Cattle: Live cattle futures finished steady to 17 1/2 cents lower through the June contract. Feeder cattle ended mixed to mostly lower. Price action was light and choppy in the cattle market as traders await a more active cash cattle trade. This morning’s Fed Cattle Exchange online auction saw 0 head sold out of the 528 head put up for sale. But light initial cash cattle trade this week suggests the cash market will eventually trade at steady to firmer prices compared to last week’s $110.66 average. However, active trade may not occur until late Friday – after USDA’s Cattle on Feed Report.